Friday, May 24, 2013

FIRST BOX OFFICE: ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Easy #1 With $35M Friday And $100+M Memorial Weekend For Franchise Biggest; ‘Hangover III’ $14M/$50M; ‘Epic’ $11M/$50M

FRIDAY 1:30 PM, 5TH UPDATE: I’ve just received from my sources the first Friday and Memorial Weekend estimates which assume the four-day (and even 4 1/2-day) holiday period’s total box office can expand significantly over 2011′s record $270M. The easy #1 is Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 is pulling out ahead with $35M today (including Thursday late shows and Friday midnights) to target $100+M for the long weekend from 3,658 domestic theaters. This will be the franchise’s biggest opening by far. The #2 film is Warner Bros’ The Hangover Part III co-financed with Legendary Pictures making $14M today after earning $11.7M for its Wednesday late shows/Thursday midnights. It’s aiming for a $50M Memorial Weekend from 3,555 North American theaters over its 4 1/2 day debut. And #3 right now is Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ toon Epic which is looking at $11M today and expecting $50M in 3,882 U.S. and Canadian locations for Memorial Weekend. It’s tracking after what has been a drought of family fare since March.

The real question is how much this Memorial Weekend box office can expand over last year’s to accommodate all 3 new tentpoles. There’s also 3 proven blockbusters still in the marketplace: Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 in 3,424 theaters, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s The Great Gatsby in 3,090 locations (which today crossed $100M domestic after only 14 days and is the first Baz Luhrmann film to do so), and Paramount/Skydance’s Star Trek In Darkness in 3,907 theaters. Big online ticketseller Fandango reports this is its biggest Memorial Day weekend for sales ever with Fast & Furious 6 selling 53% more Fandango tickets than The Hangover Part III.

After 12 years, five films and more than $1.5 billion at the global box office, the sixth Fast & Furious installment should successfully transition from street racing to heist action to terrorist plot as it opens wide today. F&F6 debuted in 2,409 North American theaters for Thursday 10 PM late shows and Friday midnights and made $6.5M which speeded past Fast 5‘s $3.8M late show grosses from an uncrowded April 29, 2011. F&F6 debuts day and date in 59 total international territories this weekend after popping Universal’s biggest opening in the UK and Ireland last Friday. Pic already has $53.4M from 34 international markets, opening #1 in all of them as the franchise’s biggest opener. Another 25 territories release today.

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